Give Your Food Choices a Spring Cleaning!

By Shannon Crocker RD  www.shannoncrocker.ca @shancrockerRD

Giving your kitchen a deep clean this spring? While you’re cleaning, take time to reorganize your fridge, freezer and cupboards:

  • Toss out foods that are no longer fresh, past their best before dates, or recognizable!
  • Purge your pantry of highly processed, nutrient-poor snack foods and packaged meal items.
  • Put more nutritious food choices up front, at eye level, in your cupboards and fridge – that helps make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Next step…refresh your food choices!

Here are a few of my top tips for refreshing food choices this spring – for your fridge, freezer and pantry.

Freshen Up Your Fridge!

  • Milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt. With up to 16 essential nutrients and endless meal possibilities, milk products are always a staple in my fridge. This Quinoa Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Cottage Cheese is a yummy addition to your spring menu. Try it – you’ll love it!
  • Fresh vegetables and fruit. Look for strawberries and rhubarb in May – they make fantastic fruit crisps. Spring is also asparagus season – how about roasted asparagus with a little tangy cheese sauce?
  • Natural nut butters. I recommend natural nut butters, such as peanut or almond for best nutty taste without added sugar. An apple with a smear of natural peanut butter makes a smart snack to pack for a spring hike.

Fill Your Freezer!

  • Vegetables. For healthy meals in a flash, fill your freezer with frozen leafy greens such as spinach, kale or mixed Asian vegetables for a light veggie stir-fry.
  • Fruit. Frozen berries, bananas and mangos make quick smoothies for breakfasts and snacks on the go. This Mega Mango Smoothie is light, refreshing and packed with protein for longer lasting satisfaction.
  • Edamame. This little green soybean is a staple in my salads. Simply defrost and toss on top of a leafy green or grain-based salad for a protein and fibre boost.

Perk Up Your Pantry!

  • Snacks – choose nutrient-rich foods foods like nuts, popcorn and plain, whole grain cereals for snacking. Package nuts into individual containers if it helps you to keep portions right-sized. A handful of nuts with a piece of fruit make a super snack after an afternoon of spring gardening.
  • Legumes – chickpeas, black beans and lentils are always in my cupboard.  These protein-rich plant foods are tops for salads, spreads and snacks. Lentils make quick and satisfying soups – which are terrific for crisp spring evenings.
  • Whole grains – quinoa, brown rice and barley. I love lemony barley risotto as a nutrient- and fibre-rich spring side dish. Cook pot barley in salt-free chicken broth, add the zest of a lemon and a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and pepper. Easy and so tasty!

Happy Spring!

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